Be Ready to Quote Potential Customers All Year Long

When potential customers call for a plowing service quote, most contractors ask why they’re looking to change vendors.  It’s a fair question.  If customers are unhappy with the service they’re getting, it’s worth taking time to find out the root of their unhappiness.  It’s possible the contractor is undercharging and needs to shortcut the job to turn a profit.  If so, be frank and explain that they are not paying enough for the service and that you’re more expensive – but the quality of work will be better. 

Customers who want better service at the same price aren’t looking for quality and dependability – they’re looking for the impossible.  If they’re just “price checking,” you might want to pass unless you need practice quoting work without getting anything in return.  Price shoppers are a fickle group, and they’re likely to change contractors on a whim just to save a buck. 

When you’re pitching new customers, extol the virtues of your company.  If you’re a large contractor with a fleet of trucks, play up your dependability – you probably have mechanics on staff (or readily available) to fix breakdowns so delays are minimal.  Also, stress that your full time dispatch team will insure special requests are addressed quickly.

For small contractors, mention that you only have a few select customers – and all of them get “personalized service.”  You’re not keeping track of a huge fleet of trucks, so you always know where everyone is working. Personalized service means you care about that customer’s specific needs, almost exclusively.

Never hide the fact that you make a profit providing snow management services.  While it may seem like everyone with a truck is plowing snow, the truth is you’re in a minority.  You provide a necessary service that requires specialized equipment, talent and dedication.  Customers should be glad you’re there – ready and willing to work under terrible, often unsafe, conditions. 

Always sell the benefits of dealing with your company no matter what size fleet you run.

Most important, remember that you’re in the snow and ice management business year round.  While most customers only think of snow at the onset of winter, we should be thinking about it all year long.  When pitching your landscape maintenance business, be sure to ask about snow management too.  Is the customer happy with the service they’re getting? 

If they say yes, then tell them they’re lucky to have a good contractor.  But be sure they know your capabilities, just in case the incumbent stumbles down the road.  Also, find out what they’re paying, if only to see what the competition is charging.  Then save the number where you won’t lose it.  In time, if you do have to quote the work, you’ll have some idea “where the numbers are” for that prospect. 

You probably don’t have issues with quoting new landscape business in January.  You shouldn’t have a problem quoting snow business in June and July either.

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